Neville writes off England’s chances

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has dismissed England’s chances of winning Euro 2012, stating that the core of the team is not as strong as other nations.

The 2-2 draw with Montenegro in Podgorica on Friday night assured that Fabio Capello’s men will take their place in Poland and Ukraine next year.

Despite an unbeaten qualifying campaign, the 85-times capped full-back is not convinced by The Three Lions’ chances.

“It’s as though we think one world class player might be able to propel us to a major trophy,” he stated in the Mail on Sunday.

“And now we are talking about Rooney possibly missing two games at Euro 2012 when what we should be talking about is the spine of a team that has no mobility and can’t keep the ball.

“When I look at it coldly, a team that has John Terry, Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Darren Bent and Rooney in its central positions is nowhere near good enough to take on the major nations such as Spain.

“I’m not having a go at individuals; there are some very good players among those names. Collectively, Rooney aside, there is hardly any pace, very little invention and hardly any rotation of positions.

“The real issue is that the spine of the team is not good enough, as it stands, to take on Spain, Italy, France or Germany at Euro 2012,” he stated.

Neville picked the world champions out as a particular team of strength, that England may not be able to compete against, but will come head-to-head with on November 12th in an international friendly.

“Compare England with the spine of Spain: Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, David Villa and Fernando Llorente. That’s the issue Fabio Capello now has to resolve and why the Wembley friendly is so much more than a practice.

“Never has a friendly been more important.

“It’s like a Cup final. Somehow, Capello has to do something that no England manager has done in 15 years, and that is make the England players believe that this next match could be the most important of their life,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight